It is no secret that cats are picky about their food. More often than not, we find ourselves asking questions about every aspect of their diet, especially what they can or cannot eat.
Can they eat that leftover fish from dinner?
Can I feed them that chicken nugget my son cannot finish? What if they chew off a tomato from my tomato plant in the garden?
One man’s meat is another man’s poison, and unfortunately for cats, this can be rather literal.
Can Cats Eat Tomatoes?
In short, yes! However, it is advisable to cut the tomato into bite-sized pieces so that your cat can enjoy it fully without risks of choking.
Also, since tomato seeds cannot be digested, you will have to remove them to prevent any unwanted blockages in the digestive system of your cat.
Tomatoes on their own do not cause problems generally, but some parts will wreak havoc.
Here are some things you might want to pay extra attention to:
Can my cat eat green tomatoes?
Cats usually do not like raw tomatoes, especially green ones, because of the tart taste and odd texture (to them at least!) It does not mean that all cats stay away from them automatically!
What you may not know is that the tomato plants, just like potato plants, produce a substance called solanine, which in short is a type of poison.
Solanine can be found in any part of the plant and is usually harmless. However, if your cat decides to indulge itself in the tomato plants, it is going to suffer!
Your cat may feel weak and/or suffer diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, confusion. If it happens, please, take your cat directly to the vet! Never wait too long as your cat will need to purge its stomach to prevent further poisoning.
Something else to know is that unripe tomatoes contain tomatine and nicotine.
Both are harmful to cats. Thankfully, their levels in the fruit decrease as the tomatoes ripen.
If you grow tomatoes at home, make sure you separate all tomato plants from your cat to avoid any unfortunate accidents.
This will also benefit your tomato plants and ensure they grow well to produce many tomatoes for you.
And if you do choose to feed your cat tomatoes, go for ripe ones.
Can my cat eat ripe tomatoes?
Ripe tomatoes are delicious both raw and cooked to both humans and our feline friends.
If you decide to feed your cat some tomatoes, remember to remove the seeds and cut the tomatoes into small pieces for its enjoyment.
You may also try cooked, chopped, or even tomato purees to add a boost of vitamins while adding colors and variety for your cat.
Can cats be allergic to tomatoes?
It is true. Like humans, animals can and do have allergies to the weirdest things, including (You have guessed it!) tomatoes.
I am sure that you have all read stories or watched videos of bad allergic reactions of cats.
I know a cat named Trixie. It loved food and would eat everything, including tomatoes.
Its owner used to give it tomatoes as treats and was surprised with seemingly-random bouts of reactions.
In the end, they found out that Trixie had an allergy to only cherry tomatoes.
Odd, but true!
Cats rarely have allergies. However, if your cat shows a reaction to any tomato, keep it away from all tomatoes.
Also, if your cat has a sensitive stomach or already has a food allergy, just exclude tomatoes from its diet. There are lots of other foods they can try (and hopefully are not allergic to).
Remember that cat food already has all the necessary nutrients for a cat, and any other fresh produce you add is just on the side for them to enjoy.
Tomatoes are acidic, which means, like all acidic foods, that they are digested poorly by cats. If you do choose to give your cat tomatoes, try just a small amount the first few times and pay attention to any reaction.
If it looks like it is more than just indigestion or something more serious, off to the vet you go!
Remember, every cat is unique like you, so each cat will have a different level of tolerance to food items.
Always take care and check with professionals if you are not sure whether your cat can eat something or not.
What about commercial cat foods?
Surprisingly, even though not all cats digest tomatoes well, tomatoes are often listed as one of the ingredients in commercial cat food.
However, companies producing cat food have done the necessary tests for all their products and verified them safe for cats to eat.
What if I cook the tomatoes?
Many websites claim that cooking tomatoes destroys the elements that make it toxic for cats and that by cooking it, cats may enjoy even green or unripe tomatoes.
I’m sorry to burst the bubble, but that is just not true.
Cooking tomatoes at high temperatures only kill off the enzymes responsible for creating solanine in the tomato.
However, it does not destroy the solanine that is already in the plant, and THAT can still cause your cat to react badly to it.
Can my cat die from eating tomatoes?
If your cat is not allergic to tomatoes, it will be able to get rid of the toxins from tomatoes through their feces and urine.
It may have a bad case of indigestion, but it will survive.
If, however, your cat has a known allergy to tomatoes, then even a small amount can be extremely harmful to it.
If you are not sure if your cat has an allergy, the best way is to add just a little the first time and pay attention to your cat. If it shows any reactions, then stop giving it tomatoes completely.
Otherwise, proceed but with caution.
What if I plant tomatoes at home?
If you do grow tomatoes at home, it can potentially be the most dangerous place for your cat.
As mentioned earlier, it is not just the tomato fruit that can harm your cat, but almost the entire plant!
Cats love nibbling and exploring just like human babies, so for the love of your cat, you will have to cat-proof your plants to make sure that your cat does not accidentally poison itself.